The Townsville ‘fortress’ that could be your castle

And despite 40 years of construction, the downstairs area has yet to be completed

A “fortress” designed and hand-built to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it has hit the market in Queensland.

Built by a “hardworking family man” from scratch, the eye-catching, art deco-style residence is made from steel and concrete to “withstand anything North Queensland’s weather can dish out”.

42 Ireland St Oonoonba

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Dubbed Townsville’s “Paronella” – after the famous Paronella Park near Innisfail – the house has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and sits on a 1012 sqm block at 42 Ireland St, Oonoonba.

Paronella Park, a major tourist attraction, features a castle built by Jose Paronella, who arrived in Australia from Spain in 1913.

He worked as a cane cutter, before buying and selling sugar cane farms.

He returned to Spain in 1924, got married and then returned to Australia on his honeymoon.

It was then he bought land at Mena Creek, building a house to live in before starting work on the castle, also built from scratch, with fingerprints still visible on parts of the structure.

Paronella Park’s castle

Back in Oonoonba, Townsville’s hand-built fortress has a sweeping staircase entrance at the front and the rear, with a huge semicircle window a key feature.

It is built from steel and concrete and a thousand bulls couldn’t knock it down, according to the agent

Building started in 1948, and continued for the next 40 years, with the man’s wife and three sons pitching in.

Inside, there is a large living, dining and kitchen area with vaulted ceilings, four bedrooms including a master with an ensuite, hardwood timber floors, a lift and a rooftop patio.

“The home won’t be for everyone but should you be interested in something well out of the ordinary and completely individual, 42 Ireland St really is the ‘Paronella’ dream of Townsville,” the listing says.

You can see the roof-top patio clearly from the backyard

Marketing agent Ian Clarke said the property, being sold as a family estate sale, was the most interesting structure he had seen in 28 years in real estate.

“The owner was a boilermaker so he knew how to build it tough,” Mr Clarke said.

“A thousand bulls couldn’t know it down … it is a fortress.”

Mr Clarke said the family was also forward-thinking for their time, with modern luxury builds often featuring rooftop terraces and internal lifts.

“Even the main bathroom, they had three boys and that bathroom had three shower heads,” he said.

“And the rounded window area, there is curved seating and a table for dinners.

“The whole structure is steel and concrete, even the roof, with many parties held on the rooftop patio, I am told.

“It is an unreal property.”

The curved window and seating is unique

The residence needs some updating, and even after 40 years toiling on their dream home, the downstairs area remains unfinished.

The kitchen needs some work

But Mr Clarke said that just like Jose Paronella, the owner had a dream and a deep love for family.

“This (residence) would have been state-of-the-art back in its day, very substantial,” he said.

“Just thinking about something like this being built, back then, the house is just bonkers.”

The property will go to auction at 10am on July 3.

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